The T cell receptor (TCR) controls the cellular adaptive immune response to antigens, but our understanding of TCR repertoire diversity and response to challenge is still incomplete. For example, TCR clones shared by different individuals with minimal alteration to germline gene sequences (public clones) are detectable in all vertebrates, but their significance is unknown. Although small in size, the zebrafish TCR repertoire is controlled by processes similar to those operating in mammals. Thus, we studied the zebrafish TCR repertoire and its response to stimulation with self and foreign antigens. We found that cross-reactive public TCRs dominate the T cell response, endowing a limited TCR repertoire with the ability to cope with diverse antigenic challenges. These features of vertebrate public TCRs might provide a mechanism for the rapid generation of protective T cell immunity, allowing a short temporal window for the development of more specific private T cell responses.
Covacu, R., Philip, H., Jaronen, M., Almeida, J., Kenison, J. E., Darko, S., … Quintana, F. J. (2016). System-wide Analysis of the T Cell Response. Cell Reports, 14(11), 2733–2744. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2016.02.056